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Personal & Spiritual Development

Prophesy is Our January theme – Well what does that mean?

Milwaukee Wisconsin

By Julie Bock, President of the Congregation

Milwaukee Wisconsin

So as a Humanist, the sheer mention of ‘prophesy’ makes me uncomfortable. Is this a sci-fi novel? Is clairvoyance involved? Do I have to buy into a bunch of mumbo-jumbo that is not rooted in logic and rationality?

These are fair questions considering the current environment as well as an understanding of the concept of our prophetic role. So let’s  start with a definition:  Greek – prophéteia: the gift of communicating and enforcing revealed truth;  pró, “before” and phēmí, “make clear, assert as a priority, what is clarified beforehand.”

I define prophetic communication as “speaking your truth” or “being woke.” Both allude to the critical thinking and assessment that needs to take place when hearing something – be it from a friend, an authority, or on social media. To assess a statement’s veracity AND stand on the side of righteousness; despite popular opinion or cultural normativity.

If you say – ‘well I already do that’ and it is easy for you to say, then I think you may be getting it wrong. Because hearing or giving prophetic statements should discomfort you and those around you, prophetic witness – speaking truth – is difficult and makes people uneasy.

This quote summarizes my thoughts on this:

[quote]“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win” – misattributed to Gandhi.[/quote]

So, to repeat my call from months past, I believe we will, as Unitarian Universalists, be called to be more engaged than ever before. Many of us will be challenged to step outside our usual comfort zone. We will be called to act on our convictions, to voice our truth as it is revealed to us through our beloved community.

All the above can be scary, disheartening, and exhausting. But we are in this together and for the long haul because we believe in our seven principles, all of which I see in play here. We are the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee and we stand for equality, truth, justice, and peace. It is our job to carry this message out into the larger Milwaukee community on a daily basis.

So I guess we are all prophets.


First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee  is a home for spiritual community, social justice, and intellectual freedom, active in Milwaukee since 1842. Unitarian Universalism is an inclusive denomination; core principles include recognition of the worth and dignity of every person; respect for the interdependent web of existence; and the goal of world peace, liberty and justice.

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